New home motion / location sensor

I’ve been working on solving what I see as a big gap in motion sensing for home automation systems. PIR sensors are room level only, and their field-of-view makes it tough to cover an entire home without putting them around every corner. They false alarm a lot too, which is bad for security systems. My work over the past eight years has been to develop an RF-based motion sensing system alternative, and I thought the openHAB community might like it. I use a network of Zigbee transceivers that are plug in to wall outlets. They form a mesh network and any changes in the received signal strength (RSS) are transmitted up to a gateway (a beaglebone black) which then solves an inverse problem to estimate where in the home the moving person is. So far I can directly control any other RESTful smart home device upon motion (or lack of motion). I create a map of my home and where I plugged in the sensors, and it shows me a map of where the motion is on any web browser. Any other hub can access the current location estimates (one or more, depending on how many people there are) via an API. There are a lot of things you could do, particularly with an openHAB system. Because it is more reliable than the infrared motion detectors I’ve tested it against, I believe it is particularly valuable for security, but any of you could use it for whatever purpose, for example, turning on lights in a room, or turning on a thermostat, opening blinds, etc. I’m trying to launch this with a couple of my former PhD students, as a security system in an indiegogo campaign, but I think it might really be more appealing as a general purpose home automation sensor for people who integrate systems like the openHAB community. My question is, are there other communities of people like those on this forum who would be interested in integrating a new type of motion sensor / locator? I’d appreciate your advice.

It sounds very interesting to me, although it’s a bit pricey for a two floor home (not saying the price isn’t justified). Do I understand correctly that with openHAB there’d be no need for the cloud service? It seems that openHAB could provide the monitoring, alerting and data storage capabilities being provided by the Xandem cloud. Is the Xandem gateway REST API documentation available on the web?

Thanks for the feedback. For low quantity manufacturing runs, it’s been hard to get the cost much lower. I should say that it is comparable to the price for a network of wireless PIR sensors throughout the home. Plus you don’t need to mount them on your walls and change batteries when they die. I do believe, though, that the cost would come down over time if they start being adopted. And YES openHAB could provide the monitoring, so no cloud service from Xandem would be required. We have not finalized the REST API, but will do so and publish the documentation soon.

I’m definitely interested in TMDL, especially the prospect of being able to model rooms and determine occupancy by tracking entries and exits. I have some concerns about being an early adopter, though.
How upgradeable is the system going to be? You guys talk about enabling more functionality in the future but I’m not sure how much capacity and field upgradeability you guys are engineering into the gen 1 TMDL system.
Could I cover 1.5 level home, say 2300 sq ft, with one system? How much 3D support with there be initially?
Does the hub max out at 15 “sensors” or could more be added to increase resolution?
I understand that there is some ability to tune around pets. Do you foresee that this technology will eventually be able to discriminate among small, medium and large entities?
Do you guys intend to do any specific integration with OpenHab or more likely OpenHab2?

@jhopkin: Great, thanks for the positive feedback. In response:

Upgradability: A solid update mechanism is absolutely a priority for our team for both bug fixes and new features. Plan on it being good.
3D floor plans: No 3D support initially, but probable with a software update over time. Can’t promise an exact timeline on this though.
Max # of sensors: We max out at about 25-30 but can possibly do more if you’re ok with a slower sample rate.
Size of pet / person: Yes, absolutely. It already does show a person’s / pet’s size to some degree and is only getting better with the new features we are adding. For example, you can already discriminate one person moving vs. a crowd of people.
Integration with openHAB: I’m personally going to be working on this part, so I’ll appreciate any advice you have, and may be posting for help. I’m planning on having a version contributed by May.

I saw the product on Engadget and immediately went here to openhab (had to register first) to spread the word. But you’ve been quicker! I’m glad that you are already aware of openhab. I personally think this product could enhance a lot of other existing brands as well, like the philips hue or ninja blocks for example. Have you tried to work with them as well? I just had a name for the solution. Switchless :slight_smile:
I am looking since a loooong time to figure out how to effectively replace lightswitches in my openhab-controlled house. A lot of my openhab controlling depend on knowing where everybody is, which is quite difficult so far, having just those bulky 10c motion detector thingys.
Plus: I don’t want to have a cloud solution, especially not an American one :slight_smile: … and so I think that product is exactly what I need.
I will pledge for it, even though all my other indiegogo pledges have dropped their project.


Thanks! I’d be thrilled if someone made an openHAB-based product using XANDEM HOME for automated lighting. We have in fact worked with the phillips hue lights, our system you see in the demo video automatically flashes the Hue lights red when an intruder is detected. It is possible to do control lights in any particular room because the system API returns a coordinate, which you can translate into a command to turn certain lights on or off. We have a cloud option, but you can have XANDMEM HOME without any cloud service (and it is cheaper). And with openHAB you won’t need cloud service, you can directly program your home automation using the information you collect from your local XANDEM HOME hub.

I’d like to be able to define a region and have an occupancy event when someone first enters, an unoccupied event for when the last person leaves and a motion event whenever something moves for each region. Regions would need to overlap. I’d like to see some sort of solution for my stairwell so at night it would light up when someone was using it. Not sure how that would work if you don’t have 3D support.